Cruelty-free and vegan have become important words in the fashion industry and have slowly but surely gained momentum. Major players like Stella McCartney have sewn the seeds of luxury vegan fashion, showing that a product’s aesthetic doesn’t need to diminish just because it’s made with more ethical materials. Case and point–her infamous Falabella bag, which was first released almost a decade ago and still a popular choice amongst fashionistas to date.
Speaking of McCartney, in 2012 she created a scholarship foundation at the University of Arts London to benefit aspiring fashion designers with the sole vow from the chosen designers to not use fur, leather, or any other animal-derived materials in their designs.
The trend in ethical materials has only grown since! Vegan brands have been popping up all over the Internet to accommodate a growing demand while some well-known fashion brands have been incorporating a vegan-friendly capsule collection to appeal to the non-leather wearer. With so much technology available in fabric development, there is an array of both synthetic and natural materials for designers to choose from, so it’s a great time for designers to make the right choice. Ultimately, where there is a demand, there will be a supply, which puts us in the driving seat.
The following vegan accessories designers offer beautiful faux leather products that rival any luxury fashion brands, no ugly clogs in sight.
1. Matt & Nat
The name is derived from the words Material and Nature, and this combination is the core ethos of their brand. Inspired by natural hues and textures, the brand creates accessories that do not use any leather or any animal-based materials. Founded by Inder Bedi in Montreal, Canada in 1995, Matt & Nat has experimented with a variety of recycled materials like recycled cardboard, cork, and recycled bicycle tires and uses only 100% recycled plastic bottles as the material for all their linings. Besides a past collaboration with Apple, their collection can be found in a growing number of luxury boutiques worldwide.
2. Cri de Coeur
Cri de Coeur is a luxury brand that specializes in ethically produced accessories with a mission to saturate the fashion market with high-quality vegan alternatives to leather and wool. Established in 2008 by Gina Ferraraccio and Julie Dicterow, the duo is committed to creating accessories that focus on earth- and people-friendly manufacturing processes, which includes using material like Ultrasuede, which is made from recycled plastic, as well as other organic, breathable, and biodegradable materials. Cri de Coeur is favored by celebrities like Anne Hathaway, Alicia Silverstone, and Elle Fanning. The brand is currently working with Free People to change how consumers view luxury in a truly sustainable way.
3. Dr. Martens
In 2011, Dr. Martens introduced a vegan collection featuring their 8-eye boot to accommodate the new consumer. The vegan-leather is made from a Flexi Rub Off material that has all the same features and incorporates the same sewing techniques without glue just like the leather footwear. The fact that they choose to use the word vegan is a positive sign of change within the established brand.
Neuaura is a high-quality, eco-conscious, and animal-free footwear brand. Neuaura was founded in 2007 by Arti Upadyay and is committed to manufacturing products that refrain from using any animal-derived materials and leaving minimal impact on the environment in the manufacturing process. Favored in editorial shoots and on the red carpet, this conscious brand is a popular animal-friendly option that does not compromise on comfort or design.
In 2017, Birkenstock had unveiled a colorful vegan collection that also includes their iconic sandal. About time a company known for being a “hippy” classic creates some animal-free versions.
This is a vegan footwear brand founded by Elizabeth Olsen in 2008, a passionate advocate for animal rights. The brand merges her love for animals and fashion and employs transparent business practices throughout her manufacturing process. The line is sold across the US as well as popular online footwear sites and has dedicated clients like Gwyneth Paltrow. The brand is a pioneer in promoting vegan designs to a larger mainstream audience.
7. BC Footwear
Also known as Born in California, BC Footwear has a whole vegan collection and is an environmentally and socially conscious brand. The brand produces footwear that is fun and girly but with a purpose and is moving towards creating products that are less of a strain on animals and the environment.
Do you have a pair of vegan shoes–or a cute vegan handbag? What’s your favorite vegan leather accessory?
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Photos: Matt & Nat Instagram, Cri de Coeur, Dr. Martens, Neuaura, Birkenstock, Olsenhaus-Pure Vegan, BC Footwear